Construction on the $24.5 million Home of Football in Canberra's north has been pushed back to mid-2022, after community consultation was delayed due to the COVID-19 lockdown, a government spokesperson has confirmed.
A cultural and heritage assessment of the 28-hectare site between Throsby and Forde, which was causing delays to the project, raised fears it would not be ready in time for the 2023 FIFA World Cup as planned.
In June, the government aimed to begin construction at the site at the end of 2021 or in early 2022 but this date has been pushed back to mid-2022.
However, even with the further delays at the hands of COVID, and the need for a technical amendment to the territory plan before a development application can be lodged, the government said the facility was still on track for deliverance by June 2023.
A spokesperson from Sports Minister Yvette Berry's office said a technical amendment was needed, in accordance with ACT planning requirements, and the community would be engaged as part of the process.
"The development of Throsby Home of Football is still on track," they said.
"We had hoped to be able to begin community engagement on the Throsby Home of Football earlier, but COVID-19 has had an impact on this process.
"We expect to lodge an estate development plan DA ... in late 2021 or early 2022. Pending the DA being approved, construction is likely to commence in mid 2022."
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Community consultation was slated to begin in "coming weeks" in February, but is still yet to get underway.
The spokesperson said they had recently provided an update to the Gungahlin community council and broader community engagements were due to get underway shortly.
The project is set to include grass and synthetic pitches, indoor futsal fields and an office complex which will allow Capital Football to relocate from its Deakin offices.
The construction delay fits in with the timeline the government's budget revealed in February. The majority of the facility's $20 million funding was pushed forward into the 2022-23 budget, despite a $10.47 million figure scheduled to be pumped into the project over the last two financial years.
Only $2.47 million has been slated for the 2021-22 budget, with a total of $8 million estimated for the 2022-22 financial year.
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